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    Obamacare Tag

    Late Monday night, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) was pronounced dead when Republicans failed to whip enough support to debate the bill, much less ensure its passage. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced Monday night their refusal to support the BCRA in its current form, joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in opposition.

    A few days ago, Kemberlee provided an overview of what is new in the GOP's revamped health care bill.  One thing that has turned out to be absent from the new version is the Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) "Freedom Option" touted by conservatives and a lynchpin in scoring skittish conservative Senators' votes. On July 14th, the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Blue Cross sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to drop the Freedom Option.
    As the U.S. Senate considers the Better Care Reconciliation Act, AHIP and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association urge the Senate to strike the “Consumer Freedom Option” from the bill. It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market.
    It appears that this advice was followed because the Freedom Option no longer appears in the Senate bill.

    Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee released a revamped version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, or the Senate's version of the AHCA. The Senate GOP's first attempt (in this round of discussions) at the BCRA was met with mehs and groans across the caucus. A small contingent of conservative Senators opposed the bill saying it did little to repeal Obamacare. More moderate Republicans expressed concern over the bill's promise to eventually cut Medicaid. And others advocated for scrapping the whole bill for a clean Obamacare repeal.

    Republicans have gained historic electoral wins across the board in the past eight years, and one of the driving issues behind these victories has been their repeated promise to repeal ObamaCare. In case anyone's forgotten, the initial outcry from voters was first to reject and then, once it was passed in the middle of the night, to repeal ObamaCare. It was the Democrats who started the "what will you replace it with?" narrative.  Suddenly, the mantra became "repeal and replace," but the American public didn't want ObamaCare.  On principle.  And we didn't want it "replaced" with some other central planning disaster. And we still don't.

    The Senate GOP's latest effort to fix Obamacare failed to garner support from the conservative wing of the party. The fractured caucus led Sen. Sasse (R-NE) to call for the complete repeal of Obamacare followed by a completely separate replacement. Sasse suggested leaving Obamacare intact as is for one year to protect its current consumers while the Senate hashes out a replacement.

    Thursday, Senate Republicans released their long-anticipated health care reform bill. We discussed highlights of the legislation here. It's worth reiterating that this bill is only the first step (so we're told) in repealing and replacing Obamacare. The Senate GOP bill is limited in what it can accomplish for one reason — reconciliation. Senate Republicans are relying on the budget reconciliation mechanism to pass their first health care overhaul with a simple majority vote. Reaction on the right has been mixed. Some are calling it one of the Republican's greatest policy achievements and others are less than thrilled about kicking the Medicaid can down the road.

    Thursday, Senate Republicans finally unveiled their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It's almost as much of a stinker as its House counterpart. If you were hoping the GOP would make good on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, then I have some disappointing news: the latest Republican health insurance brainchild does neither. As we discussed when dissecting the unimpressive House AHCA, the Senate GOP bill is also limited in what it can accomplish for one reason -- reconciliation. Senate Republicans are relying on the budget reconciliation mechanism to pass their first health care overhaul with a simple majority vote.

    We at Legal Insurrection have documented the damage Obamacare has done to the insurance market, with costs skyrocketing to the point that companies have pulled out. If they cannot make a profit they cannot provide coverage. For the last few weeks, Iowa's individual health insurance market showed signs of collapse as companies pulled out one after another. The state started to panic, even asking "the federal government to let it alter parts of the Affordable Care Act in an effort to entice insurers into selling plans in the state." The small insurance company Medica has come to save Iowa after the company's officials decided to remain in the state, making it the only company in the market. But officials said it has to charge higher premiums in order to stay afloat.

    Anthem Inc, a prominent national health insurance company, has decided to leave Ohio's health insurance exchange citing a volatile market. It's another example of Obamacare's collapse, especially since Anthem became "a major player in the individual insurance market created by the federal health care law." From The New York Times:
    Ohio state insurance officials said they were reviewing their options but put the blame squarely on the federal health care law. “For the past few years we have seen a weakening in the federal insurance marketplace as a number of companies have withdrawn from the exchange,” the state agency said in a statement. “We have always argued the private insurance market is the most severely impacted by the federal law and that is where Congressional action is needed to restore stability.”
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